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Three suicide prevention and awareness events to be held Sunday

By Staff | Nov 9, 2017

Three events set for Sunday will help to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention.

Hosted by C.A.R.E.S. Suicide Prevention, the first-ever C.A.R.E.S. Prevention Extravaganza will consist of a motorcycle ride and a 5K walk, followed by an appreciation and awareness concert.

“We are all about suicide prevention,” Thomas MacKenn, board member for the group, said.

He explained that C.A.R.E.S. Suicide Prevention focuses on three main outreaches: students being bullied in school; veterans, active duty military and first responders; and the LGBT community.

“Unfortunately, the overall number of suicides happen within those groups,” MacKenn said.

As a result of Hurricane Irma, all three annual events will coincide for the first time.

“This is the first year that we’re combining them all together in one day,” he said.

The “Original” Cape Coral Bullyride, with America C.A.R.E.S. about Bullying, will kick off the activities for the day. The event focuses on raising anti-bullying awareness among local youths.

“The goal is to really raise public awareness and draw attention to the problem,” MacKenn said.

The ride will take off at 10 a.m. from the German-American Social Club.

Registration and a $5 All-U-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

“It is a 26-mile police-escorted ride,” he said, adding that the route sticks to the Cape.

The cost is $15 per bike and $5 per passenger; event T-shirts will be available for purchase.

“Our record, so far, is about 360 bikes,” MacKenn said.

Organizers are hoping to get 200 to 300 participants this year.

Those without motorcycles can show their support by lacing up their walking shoes. The Survivors Stepping Out 5K Walk take place at 10 a.m. in Club Square, with registration open at 8:30 a.m.

There is no cost to take part, and the route takes participants along the area’s sidewalks.

“It does start and end at Club Square, behind the Dixie Roadhouse,” MacKenn said.

The walk enables those who have lost a loved one to suicide to remember and raise awareness.

“A lot of these people have lost loved ones to suicide, whether it is a sibling, parent or child,” he said.

Before the walk, participants will receive a colored bead identifying who they have lost.

“People will be able to know which category everybody is in – like a support system for those who are going through the same thing,” MacKenn said.

Participants are asked to wear purple.

“Purple, of course, is the national color for suicide prevention,” he said.

They can also bring signs that contain statistics about suicide loss or a message of remembrance.

“Some people find solace in that,” MacKenn said.

After the morning events, the C.A.R.E.S. for Heroes will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at the Dixie Roadhouse. The New Machine Band, Crossthred, Mary Ann Connely and others will perform.

There is no cover charge to attend the concert.

While raising awareness for PTSD, it will honor veterans, active military and first responders.

“It’s to show our support for them,” he said.

There will be raffles, 50/50s and other ways to win, along with a lunch menu available.

“We have several tattoo certificates, a $700 Fat Tire mountain bike,” MacKenn said. “We’ve got a couple of three-day, two-night stays on Fort Myers Beach and in downtown Fort Myers.”

“All kinds of goodies,” he added.

Proceeds will go toward C.A.R.E.S. Suicide Prevention and its programs.

MacKenn urged the community to come out and show its support.

“Realistically, we can’t do what we do without the support of our community,” he said. “This is not something that a single individual or a single organization can do on their own.”

For more information, call 239-703-9109 or visit online at .caresprevention.org.

The German-American Social Club is at 2101 S.W. Pine Island Road.

The Dixie Roadhouse is at 1023 S.E. 47th Terrace.